It's every parent's worst nightmare—you turn around for a second and when you turn back, your child is gone. Thankfully, most of the time you can find them in the immediate vicinity, but in a crowded location such as Disney World, youngsters easily get lost.
A few tips make it easier to keep track of your child in the busy, fast-paced Disney theme parks. In the worse case of an accidental separation, a few precautions can help you find them quickly. Disney employees receive extensive training in finding lost children, so your first action should be to alert the nearest cast member (Disney employee).
Find a Lost Child
As soon as you notice your child is not with you, notify the nearest cast member of your lost child so a team of Disney employees can look while you begin your search.
- Look for alternate exits from rides, restaurants, and restrooms; many have exits on opposite sides of the building. A child may go in one door but come out in an entirely different location.
- Look carefully around the closest attraction, character, or display; your child may have simply wandered over to get a closer look.
- Split up if possible; have one parent or teen stay in the spot where you last saw your little one while the other looks around.
- Go to your designated meeting space, if you have one.
Take Safety Precautions
Use some time during your flight or drive to Disney World to talk about the importance of sticking together. Even children who don't typically wander away can get distracted or lost because there is simply so much to see, so plan ahead by discussing and performing some basic safety measures.
- Make a note of every child's outfit, or better yet, take a picture each morning with your phone or a digital camera you plan to carry with you. Dress your kids in bright tops or recognizable favorites so you can easily spot them in a crowd.
- Consider giving "big kids" a cell phone, just in case, even if they do not usually carry them.
- Get waterproof SafetyTat temporary tattoos or write your number on your child's wrist with a waterproof marker. You could also put your name and phone number on a tag tied to your child's shoelace or on a sticker inside his or her shirt.
- Explain to your child what you would like him or her to do if he or she gets lost. Some parents want their children to stay still, others prefer they approach a cast member for help. When you arrive at the park, make sure your child can identify a Disney employee from their uniform and name badge.
- Designate an easy-to-find, not overly crowded meeting place in each park. The easily recognizable Prince Charming Regal Carousel makes a good choice; the Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom, with its many trails and offshoots, does not.
Keep Track of Your Kids
Be vigilant at all times, whether you’re exiting a live show among a big crowd or just standing in line. Hold hands and engage your kids in conversation to keep them close.
- Carry small children off rides and out of shows where large numbers of people exit at the same time, such as Mickey's Philharmagic and the Festival of the Lion King.
- Be extra aware around areas with large concentrations of kids; at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique area in Fantasyland, you could lose your own little princess in a sea of "made over" Cinderellas and Snow Whites.
- Stick together during parades; little kids tend to migrate towards the action. Crowds at popular parades such as the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Boo to You parade make it easy to get separated.